September, 2011: Frank D'Ovidio, MD, PhD, and members of the NYP/Columbia Lung Transplantation Program performed the first ex vivo transplant at this hospital, saving the life of 59-year-old Patricia Kingsbury. The innovative transplant was part of the recently opened NOVEL trial, which is testing a new method of restoring and repairing donor lungs that may have sustained damage.
Developed at the University of Toronto, the ex vivo method entails keeping the donor lungs outside the body for about four hours. During this time, the lungs are infused with a solution of oxygen and nutrients, and are carefully assessed for damage. In some cases, lungs that might have previously been deemed too poor for transplant can in fact be successfully replenished and repaired, rendering them usable. This technique has the potential to significantly increase the number of donor organs available for transplant a benefit that could mean all the difference for patients like Patricia whose lives may well depend upon the availability of a donor organ.
As of June 2011, an important trial is now testing a new method of preserving donor lungs before transplantation. This method could potentially increase the availability of donor organs.
The NOVEL Lung Trial (Normothermic Ex-Vivo Lung Perfusion as an Assessment of Extended/Marginal Donor Lungs) will run from June 2011 to March 2014, under the direction of Principal Investigator Frank D'Ovidio, MD, PhD.
Transplant surgeons at the University of Toronto have developed an effective method of preserving donor lungs outside of the body at body temperatures. Preclinical data shows that ex vivo perfusion with STEEN solution is as good, if not better than, the standard cold static preservation. The NOVEL study proposes to use the EVLP technique to improve donor lung assessment before transplant, and thereby safely increase the number of available lungs for transplant. If the lungs demonstrate a favorable ex vivo evaluation, the lungs will be transplanted into a patient.
Read here for more information about the NOVEL study.
Joshua Sonett, MD Runs NYC Marathon with Lung Transplant Patient
November 7, 2010, Joshua R. Sonett, MD, Surgical Director of the Lung Transplant Program, joined Timothy Sweeney, who has cystic fibrosis, in running the NYC marathon. Dr. Sonett performed Timothy's double lung transplant just under a year ago.
ECMO Lung Support Improves Patient's Health, Making Way for Lung Transplant
The December 14, 2009, USA Today ran an article about Liesbeth Stoeffler, a cystic fibrosis patient who received lifesaving lung support with a device called ECMO (short for extracorporeal membrane osxygenation). According to the USA Today article, ECMO enabled Ms. Stoeffler's doctors Matthew Bacchetta, MD, MBA, MA, and David Lederer, MD, to remove her from the ventilator, thereby improving her health so that she could maintain eligibility for lung transplant, which she received at NYP/Columbia on July 20, 2009. The ECMO gave Ms. Stoeffler's lungs relief from the ventilator, improving her oxygen and carbon dioxide levels, ultimately bridging her to transplant. According to the article, Ms. Stoeffler's doctors pared down her ECMO equipment and she was able to take liquids and food, which helped her gain weight and strength. She could eventually sit up, talk and even use her laptop and iPhone. "About five days into it, she told me it was the best she'd felt in years," Dr. Bacchetta said.
Ventilators may cause damage to the lungs because they push air into the lungs. ECMO, short for extracorporeal membrane oxygenation, directly oxygenates the blood, and does not cause lung damage. Patients may move around, eat, and even undergo pulmonary rehabilitation while on ECMO. Doctors at Columbia have been using ECMO technology as both a bridge to transplant and a bridge to recovery, using it to treat patients with H1N1, pulmonary fibrosis, COPD, cystic fibrosis, and pneumonia.
First Lung Transplant at MSCHONY
We are proud to announce the first pediatric lung transplant performed entirely at Morgan Stanley Children's Hospital. Previously, it was necessary for children to visit the Milstein Hospital Building at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Columbia University Medical Center for the surgery and post-operative care. This milestone was made possible by interdisciplinary collaboration, including the support of the adult lung transplant team, as well as by resources available through the newly opened Laura Rothenberg Bronchoscopy-Endoscopy Center. Thanks to these advances, our pediatric lung patients can now expect the very best care available in the comforting and convenient setting of Morgan Stanley Children's Hospital.
NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital has taken a leadership role in perfecting techniques and patient selection criteria for lung transplantation in patients with cystic fibrosis (CF). As a result, the Hospital is home to the largest CF lung transplant program in New York City. Leveraging this experience, the Hospital has now expanded the program to include patients under the age of 18 years. Although current management strategies reasonably control the disease into adulthood in most pediatric patients, lung transplantation may offer extended survival in pediatric patients with advancing disease who have severe and irreversible airflow obstruction.
In 2005, the U.S. Organ Procurement and Transplantation Network (OPTN) and its non-profit funding agency, United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS), changed the nation's method of allocating organs to transplant candidates. The new method, involving a scoring system to help determine position on the organ waiting list, replaced an older system allocating organs on a first-come first-serve basis.
Click here to read more.
Highly effective treatments can successfully protect patients against the threat of the acute form of rejection that occurs immediately after transplant surgery. Yet even the best medical therapies are powerless against the tide of chronic rejection, which slowly and steadily undermines the health of over half of lung transplant patients during the first three- to five years after transplantation. Frank D'Ovidio, MD, PhD, has shed light on the role of gastro-esophageal reflux (GER) as one of the causes of chronic lung transplant dysfunction, and/or chronic rejection.
The Lung Transplant Program is leading the effort to improve outcomes in life-threatening lung diseases. Our research has contributed to recent advances in the understanding of advanced lung disease and lung transplantation including innovative medical and surgical treatments yielding improved quality-of-life and survival for patients. These achievements have been most notable in the areas of emphysema, idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis, pulmonary arterial hypertension, and cystic fibrosis, both before and after lung transplantation.
The NewYork-Presbyterian Lung Transplant Program at Columbia University Medical Center has received Medicare certification for lung transplantation. Medicare covers eligible patients who enter our program for preoperative evaluation, lung transplant surgery and postoperative care.
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